Tonight was one of those evenings that gets your adrenaline up. Anxiety levels certainly rose a couple of notches. Mary and eldest daughter Rachel came in from the evening feeding and announced one of the puppies, Snowball, had not come when called for dinner. It was time to go looking. All four of us headed out the door and started scouring the property, calling for the dog. After the property search, we started checking buildings and pits and holes. It sure looked like she had fled the ranch. Rachel and I hopped in the truck to look along the road.
After going as far up the road as we thought she could have possibly wandered and letting a neighbor know what was up, we turned around and started heading up driveways and talking to a couple of other neighbors. In one area we heard a few barks that sounded a lot like her and gave that area a heavy going over. Never did find the dog barking there. So off the other direction we went. Talked to a couple more neighbors. Loosing a puppy is a great way to meet people. And I guess it was rush hour because we ran into lots of folks coming home or just leaving. Finally, we got to my immediate neighbor to the south of us who told us the puppies had been there earlier fooling around in his field. Finally, a clue! He said we could drive back there and look, so we did. I left Rachel at one end and I drove down toward the river real slow. Then I saw her. A white lump that jumped a little. She wasn’t moving normally and her head looked black. Oddly, that’s not all that unusual for Great Pyrenees. Ours routinely come home with black faces. So I got out and went over. She had her head stuck in a plastic food container that had vanilla whey protein in it. Not sure if there was any in there when the dog found it but it sure smelled, well, vanilla-ee. And so did the dog. She was stuck good and had probably been that way for hours. I got the container off her head. She looked pathetic. No picture. I did think about it though! She was soggy, weed and burr covered, and wiped out. She did smell very nice though!
We got her home and have now gone into mother hen recovery mode. She must have drunk a gallon of water when we got back to the house. Now she’s inside with us with her sister, most likely milking this for all it’s worth. But, we need to keep an eye on her for a while, so she gets to milk it all she wants. The other mutts aren’t too happy about the change but they’ll live. I’m coming down from the event and trying to decompress. We were supposed to go out tonight for an event but that got preempted by Snowball’s antics. It’d be nice to think the dog learned something from this, but if she did, it’s probably only that there’s good smelling trash next door and I should go back and check it out again! I guess that’s puppy hood.
Never a dull moment around the Double Portion Ranch.
I got as close as I’ve been to the emu chicks today. If I had to bet a nickle, I’d say we have one male and 4 females. I had one visual of a circle pattern on top of one chicks head but I couldn’t get that shot. Here’s a couple I did get.
In this one, the chick closest to the bottom has what looks like a circle pattern of feathers on it’s head. All the rest have speckles or stripes. Circles indicate males.
It’s the end of March and Texas Spring is a happening thing. A lot of things in life have been happening and I haven’t had the motivation to keep up with the blog much over the last year or so. I’ve had the desire to though! My wife has now gotten into the writing act and is going great guns. Check her out at http://www.shepherdslamb.com/ I think you’ll like her stuff.
Anyway, back to the ranch. We purposely took a year off from lambing. Given the stresses of the last year or so that was probably the right course of action even though we did it to rest the sheep. I do miss the new little ones we’d be seeing about now though. Not to fear! The Double Portion has indeed produced babies this year. Two of them we bought but are now as much a part of the ranch as any creature here. Meet Snowball and Sugar, the next generation of our Livestock Guard Dog team.
And what, you may ask, did the ranch actually produce? Well…
We have these:
And they make these:
And when things work out just right, you get these!
Five baby emus were born this spring at the ranch! I honestly did not expect this. They are strange birds. Fun to watch, and even affectionate sometimes. If nothing else, they’re a great conversation starter. We’ve also had humming birds starting to arrive. Everything is greening up. The wild flowers are starting. God’s annual renewals is in full swing and it’s always a sight to behold. I hope you enjoy a few pictures of what we get to see here. Have a great day!
One thing about living on the Double Portion Ranch, there’s always something new and unexpected popping up. Today was a ranch first. It was either ‘Take a chicken to Church’ day, or a whole new take on ‘Free Willie’. You see, we now own a chicken named Willie Nelson. It’s a hen, but I don’t care. That’s its name. My most humble apologies to the famous singer. (Willie, I bet you never had a hen named after you before!)
Today we had a chicken go “On The Road Again”. It really was ‘again’ since it had already had one ride in the big red Ford when it came home from the store. This one was just not planned. Here’s a pic or two of the little stowaway.
In order to avert catastrophe, every time I fire up the red truck of happiness I have to run through a checklist. A smooshed animal definitely qualifies as a catastrophe around here. Thus, the “Clear regions under, next to, or in front of the truck” checklist was born. It goes something like this:
- Sheep – almost always under. Poke with walking stick. Hope they stay out. Check.
- Chickens – Same thing. Poking has no effect. They always go back under. Check.
- Dogs – Smarter animals. Always move because they know better. Check.
- Llama – Can’t fit under but will lay next to. Just threaten to pet. Moves immediately. Check.
- Emus – Must run directly in front of moving vehicle. No way to stop. Go slow. Check.
I now have to add “scan possible perch sites” to the chicken check. I’m sure we’re not the first to experience this, but when it’s your first time, it’s a bit shocking!
This morning we headed off to church as is our custom on Sundays. It’s a little over 11 miles and the trip takes us through historic downtown Seguin. Speeds vary but do get up to 55mph in spots. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary. As we were getting out of the truck, a young guy walking by says “I see you brought your chicken to church today!” Mary and I are like, “huh?” So he points under the truck, and there she was. We were dumbstruck for a moment. I think I said something about it being holy, or at least that word was used. Up in front of the back tire, perched on a rod of some kind, sat the chicken later to be called Willie. It was not moving. Mary thought it was dead. I knew it would not still be sitting there if it were so I was at least a little relieved. What the heck do we do about it though? Obviously I had to get it out. Luckily I drive a ranch truck that comes equipped with stuff to handle situations like this. Except for a box to put the chicken in.
I started to go for the chicken and decided this event really needed to be recorded for posterity, or hilarity, or something, so Mary grabbed my phone and we took the video below. After I got the chicken out, Mary had to go into the church and explain what was happening and ask for a box to put it in. That’s a situation you don’t face every day. Fortunately, they believed her, eventually. What’s even funnier is that they were having a BBQ after church in the parking lot and had the pit all fired up and going. Looks like we brought the chicken! (I kid, I kid! It made it back home to the coop just fine. This time, inside the truck.)
I’m getting a bit of the writing itch again. I’m going to resuscitate the blog so I can scratch that itch. I want to start slow though and find a happy writing level that is more consistent. The ranch needs a voice since it has a mission.
A little over 25 years ago I was engaged to be married to a lovely woman named Mary Hoch. I was in the Air Force at the time and part of a 24-hour mobility team. Unfortunately, Iraq had also just invaded Kuwait around this time and the U.S. military was very close to becoming involved. Mary and I were supposed to be married in February, a date we had already moved up. Both of us knew I could get called up to go to this little war, so we set things up in advance to have an “emergency” wedding should the need arise. Then, on January 9th, 1991, I was awakened early by a telephone call telling me to grab my bags and prepare to deploy! I called Mary and told her not to worry. Naturally, she worried. I went in and we went through all the bag drag procedures before we were told it was an exercise. Since nobody knew better, to us it was a no s#%t recall. We thought we were gone to the Middle East. Naturally, this lights a fire under one’s booty to get all affairs in order.
Once everything calmed down, Mary and I activated our emergency plan. Our wedding day was an insane story all its own, complete with car wrecks and discount Christmas card shopping! For now, let’s just go with the fact that on January 11th, 1991 we were married and became husband and wife. That happened 25 years ago today! I thought I’d mark the occasion with this blog post for all to see.
25 years ago I married my love Mary. I honestly didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Fortunately, God did. I knew I wanted a life long commitment but based on what I saw in my life and others, I expected marriage to be hard and rocky with lots of fighting. So, I prepared as best I could. I read many Christian marriage/relationship books. We did premarital counseling. We prayed to God for our marriage and relationship and family. As it turned out, we found out we were really well suited for each other! Yeah, we fight every so often with each other. But we fight for each other every day. It makes a big difference!
Not only does this woman put up with me just as I am, she actually loves me too! How cool is that. And…
She ranches with me!
She takes care of our sheep (and other animals)!
She loves small dogs!
That turn into big dogs!
She sticks with me rain…
Loves all my jokes!
And gave me a pretty cool family!
It really doesn’t get any better than this folks. I can truly say I have everything in life I’ve ever wanted. It’s all gravy now and has been for a while. God is good! Life is good! It’s not easy or perfect by a long shot, but it’s good!
Otherwise known as Ducks! We had 3 adult ducks here for quite some time and we get one to two eggs from them a day. I supply these eggs to a lady that has very few options for protein due to allergies. When the ducks molt, or go on strike, or don’t feel like it, or for whatever reason stop laying, this can be a problem. So, after seeing an ad locally for some, we bought 10 chicks. Two of them did not survive for reasons unknown. They’re about 16 days old today and have more than doubled in size. They’ll clean out the feeder you see in the pictures in a day and have just started fully draining the water container (although, how much they simply play and splash may have something to do with its consumption rate). We think they’re a mix of Mallard and some similar type of duck I can’t recall the name of. Might get green eggs out of some which would be neat.
Here’s some pictures and video of the little critters. I’ll have to upgrade the cage one more time and then they can go out with the big ducks. Just a short post today to share cute duck pics. More to come!